Rain is a Good Thing!

By: Steve Keller, Superintendent
Monday, December 17th 2018

Gearing up for a great season and reflecting on all the years’ work, now pays off. The staff recently endured 10+ inches of rain that was record breaking, while the course held up with golfers calling to play. At first, it didn’t seem possible but, after evaluating the situation golfers were on the course by 8:30 the next morning! It was an impressive site with impressive staff, which equates to our success. It’s such a well-designed site and we can’t believe the engineering that keeps us from flooding as MANY courses in the area do. This feature really sets us apart from the others in the area because of our ability to get golfers right back out there with little to no cart restrictions after the inclement weather. It’s time to play and we thank you all for helping us make the course better every day. It’s now up to the players to monitor cart traffic, fill divots & repair ball marks. All efforts help keep what we believe are great playing conditions for all to enjoy! Happy Holidays to you and your family!

Making Golf Fun Again

By: Steve Keller, Superintendent
Monday, December 10th 2018

As of 2019 some golf rules have been changed or modified to make the game more enjoyable. Recently, 34 rules have now been reduced to 24 rules, some of these rule changes are also designed to keep the pace of play moving and not to complicate golfers making the correct decision. A rule change we are happy to see and was always confusing, tapping down spike marks and foot scuffs to include everything that is not a natural imperfection, is OK under new rule change. You would see pros golfers on TV asking their playing partner if it was ok to fix a ball mark that may appear to be a spike mark, now they can without worrying about being penalized.

If you drop a ball from a penalty area, or it is unplayable etc., you may be permitted to drop from knee high. There is a recommendation that a golfer should take their shot within 40 seconds, and now 3 minutes to find a lost ball and a ball that went out of bounds dropping near the point the ball went out rather than going back to the tee. These are a single set of rules that apply to everyone including professionals, allowing for more enjoyment and keep things moving.

We really are starting to see the “Buzz” of Central Florida in our area with new development, new businesses, highway improvements, and generally more people coming to live and visit in our area and we couldn’t be happier to see more people enjoying the area we are happy to call home! Thank you for all of those who have supported us and continue to come and enjoy what we believe is one of the finest courses and communities in the area.

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling!

By: Steve Keller, Superintendent
Monday, December 3rd 2018

Now that we have seen a couple frosts, the turf has laid down and is not growing much. Greens are being rolled daily to help smooth and tamp down spike marks from previous play. Mowing is used as a tool to further cleanup scuffs and foot traffic scrapes. It’s nice when golfers tap down these areas around holes that affect ball roll.

The temperature swing from last week raised 30 degrees higher with a little rain. It often takes a week before we see turf start to grow a little but, caution that warmer spells are usually short lived before another cool snap rolls in. The days are approaching the shortest of the year, which is our shoulder season. Turf recovery being limited with lack of adequate sunlight and cooler damp weather. These are exact opposite conditions Bermuda grass requires to prevail. We just have to deal with it and enjoy the great playing conditions it provides as long as everyone works together to care for the course during these slow growth periods. The greens roll best during the winter with foot traffic and ball marks being the obstacles we have to challenge. Thank you for helping keep our greens pristine.

Remember Those Behind You

By: Steve Keller, Superintendent
Monday, November 26th 2018

In a televised tournament setting, preparing the course involves 100s of people working together to accomplish a set plan. They ask that no cart tracks will be seen in the rough and divots will be plugged out so TV cameras won’t be able to view. The course must be pristine!

Flawless conditions are not possible without the help of everyone. At Juliette Falls, we strive to provide the best conditions but, all of our players can do their part to help and we thank you for that. Golfers generally do a great job of fixing ball marks, filling divots and raking tracks in bunkers.

Cart traffic can do the most damage. So during these busy months, it’s best to keep carts on paths and entering fairways adjacent to were your ball is, then returning to the path. Around greens, keeping the cart at least 15 steps away from the green is a rule of thumb. Also remember, what you drive over, the players behind you may be playing from that area. Rangers may talk to a group or players, that keep carts too close to the greens or other sensitive areas making them aware of how to navigate while managing pace of play. Even though thousands of players will be on the course this winter, each player doing their part is EXTREMELY helpful & will ensure the course is in great condition for the heavy play we are expecting!

Great Reviews from a Busy Month!

By: Steve Keller, Superintendent
Monday, November 19th 2018

We recently held our 11th annual Toys For Tots golf tournament, hosting industry professionals including golf superintendents, vendor reps, course owners and even a tour caddie. The comments were great on the course condition. The event was concluded with a storm that dumped 2 inches of rain and a few of our players were soaked but in good spirits and overall it was a great event!

Following this tournament, the day after, was our annual Big Dog Challenge. The staff worked extremely hard preparing the course and refining every detail, providing an awesome experience for all to enjoy! Keeping greens speedy can be a challenge with high humidity combined with warmer than normal weather. Staff watches the weather and plans on seasonal trends to slow growth down and gain speed and smoothness on the greens. When weather doesn’t cooperate, additional measures are taken to ensure the best playing conditions are provided. Often when temperatures drop into the 30’s, we see the greens get pretty quick as was the case this weekend hosting the IGTA event which included some players from the Golf Channel Big Break. We had a lot of players on the course, from all over the world, enjoying great central Florida weather during the upcoming holiday season. Thank you and wishing all a Happy Thanksgiving!

If Turf Could Talk

By: Steve Keller, Superintendent
Monday, November 5th 2018

If you know what to look for when looking at turf grass, one can see deficiencies and apply necessary nutrients to improve the health of a plant. Often, a complete nutrient combination is applied to ensure certain elements are available. Not having 1 or 2 elements available for the plant can cause problems with the entire growth cycle! Like us, plants need food to survive and often many nutrients are in the soil but, may not be available or in the necessary form for the plant to use. This often gets very complicated and can puzzle the best managers. Soil samples are periodically taken to establish a good base line to work from such as, in the spring before the plants begin to grow is a good time to see what is going on. Nutrient programs can be adjusted to include only the nutrients that are needed for the turf and those that are in abundance that can be deleted from a program and monitored, thus saving money and not applying something that is not needed into the environment.

Another step that is often taken, is collecting tissue from a plant and having it tested. In our case, we take clippings from a green or two that have been collected from the mower and air dry them, we put them in a bag and ship it off to a lab. There, they test them and see what nutrients the plant is actually taking in and see what they are deficient in. Greens are sprayed almost every week with a nutrient mix and these can be further enhanced by having this information to help us decide on what nutrients are important to our greens and what we may have enough of already and can eliminate. Tissue tests will tell us what the plant is using and what it is not, even if you have applied something the plant may not take it in, because it’s not in a form the plant recognizes. Again, these tests help us look for the products that work best for us and each and every site is a little different, just like all diets for people are a little different. Little did you know we’re running a very large chemistry lab out here!

At Juliette Falls we are always trying to improve and use the resources available to us and not over apply something that may not be needed. We like to keep the course healthy but not overdo it. Firm and fast with good turf cover throughout in our bread and butter! The course continues to be in great shape and we strive to improve areas that may be struggling with some extra attention as our staff keeps a keen eye on things. Thank you to the many golfers coming out and playing what we feel is really a great course!

Promote Pink

By: Steve Keller, Superintendent
Tuesday, October 30th 2018

October is Breast Cancer awareness month and you see ‘pink’ being promoted everywhere! At Juliette Falls we support Breast Cancer by displaying our pink flags on every hole and we also hosted a ‘Play for Pink’ golf tournament for The Lifestyle Venture Tours group from the Villages yesterday! A great time was had by all as they played a 4-Man Scramble Shotgun and also had the opportunity to “Beat the Pro” for a small donation on one of our Par 3’s. Fun prizes and giveaways were handed out at the end, along with our FAMOUS Burger & Beer! We appreciate each and every one of you for coming out and supporting a GREAT cause!

We have a lot of great tournaments coming up in November, one of them being the Seven Rivers Golf Course Superintendents Association Tournament on November 8th. This is where we invite Superintendents (professionals in the same role as me, from other courses) to play Juliette Falls and we ask everyone to bring a toy and we collect a HUGE donation for the Toys for Tots. This event is followed up by our famous Annual Big Dog Challenge on Friday, November 9th & Saturday, November 10th. We host a Calcutta on Friday afternoon followed by a Prime Rib Dinner and start Saturday with a putting contest then start our tournament with a real live cannon shotgun start at 10 AM! We hope you will join us for this really fun event!

The weather has really cooled off and we have already seen several nights and mornings in the 40’s! This is normal for this time of year and is the seasonal change we all look forward to, for those of us who reside here in Florida. We welcome the break from the heat!

We have seen more total rain over the summer. Although we have not seen much rain over the past couple months, we still have standing water in some of the retention areas as the water table is higher as a result of state-wide rainfall, and drainage is a little slower. The course is really well drained and only a couple of holes actually are affected when a big storm comes in, one being 18. This is already a tough finishing hole with water in retention areas on both sides, so one must keep it straight on approach shots or you lose your ball! We see most players playing this as a drop from casual water with no penalty as normally these areas are dry and the ball can be played from normally. Green speeds will increase as we go into the cooler months and grass really begins to slow down in growth. We have not witnessed any frost yet, but the change in weather has brought out many golfers and we thank you for all the support and the many wonderful comments on the course we feel is better than ever!